UPDATE: I talked with Anthony Kukla, the president of Redglue, Inc., the Austin-based service provider for Perry's campaign site and the event. Kukla described it as a denial-of-service attack called a SYN flood. He said it occurred around 11:20 a.m., ten minutes before Perry was to start his announcement.
Kukla explained that such an attack fakes a massive number of users trying to connect to the server, with the goal of tying it up. He said the attack was flagged by the company's firewall system, traffic was shut down and then connections were re-set.
He said the problem was wrapped up within 10 minutes. Kukla said there's no chance that there were simply too many people trying to sign on. He said the server could have handled anything that was thrown at it.
The server wasn't completely tied up by the attack, he said, but a number of people who wanted to get on wouldn't have been able to do so while it was going on.
"Hackers do this all the time -- targeting people, trying to shut sites down," Kukla said. "There's not a 100 percent way of keeping these things from occurring."
Hutchison's campaign referred me to Doug Landoll, who said he has an information security company called Lantego in Austin. He said he's not affiliated with the campaign. When I relayed Kukla's explanation, he said it makes sense.
"It's very difficult to protect yourself from a SYN flood," Landoll said.
Methinks Kay's team stepped in it and tried to refer reporters to an "internet security expert" who they believed was prepared to mock and make fun of Rick's internet guy... only he ended up vouching for Rick's internet guy instead.